With The Bahamas and the world in an unprecedented time of crisis, with people hurting and at a loss as to what they ought to do, and frustrations and tensions rising, Bahamas Faith International Ministries (BFMI) Senior Pastor Dave Burrows says at this juncture, the nation needs to have a published plan and timeline for reopening.
It’s a plan he says should identify key indicators, milestones or markers, leading toward ending the lockdown and initiating another phased reopening.
“I believe that if the strategy is clearly spelled out, it will increase the level of confidence and comfort of Bahamians in this process, and ultimately, the path forward,” says Burrows.
“For example – if we reach a target of X number of cases per day or week, then we can return to curbside business. If we meet another goal, restaurants may open outdoors, etc. We need to know what the projected path forward is, while understanding that it is subject to change.”
The BFMI pastor says a measurable, methodical plan will at least offer people some understanding of the general direction in which the country is headed, and they can assess whether they are meeting the targets or not.
“We understand that these are unprecedented and challenging times but without an end goal in view, constant uncertainty will unravel into widespread anxiety and possibly even hopelessness.”
Burrows says it is also important to indicate what changes will be made from the previous reopening strategy, specifically as it relates to tourism.
“What will be required in the future to mitigate against the potential surge we experienced when we first reopened?”
Since the country’s borders fully reopened on July 1, more than 1,400 cases have been confirmed.
“Will incoming tourists be restricted to staying on resort properties for the duration of their stay? Will Bahamians who travel abroad be subject to an automatic quarantine upon return?”
On the flip side of the equation, Burrows says members of the public may all have differing opinions, but that as a people, they have to pray for and support the current authorities as they are elected and have a specific term in office that is not coming to an end in the near future.
Bahamian general elections are scheduled for 2022.
“We know they are under tremendous pressure and are earnestly looking for the right formula in the same way that we are. I believe if there are viable recommendations, these should be submitted or published for all to review and make assessments from. I believe the circulation of possible solutions will achieve more than anything else at this point, to help us in the right direction,” says Burrows.
The senior pastor also says it is people’s right to criticize leaders when they feel the right actions are not being taken, but in criticizing, he says, people should be able to present alternative options for consideration.
“We live in a parliamentary democracy and our system of government gives authority for elected officials to implement the policies that they deem best. Whether they are right or wrong is for us all to judge, but we cannot usurp their authority, and therefore, we have to hold them to account through the democratic process, through whatever legal and lawful means are available at the time. At the end of the day, I am sure that we all want the same thing for The Bahamas, and during this juncture, we should all do the best we can within our rights and abilities to achieve what we all want, which is a return to normal economic and social activity.”
The Bahamas had 1,531 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of yesterday – 880 on New Providence and 507 on Grand Bahama – the nation’s frontrunners. Bimini, Abaco and the Berry Islands were in double digits at 45, 44 and 14 respectively.
Cat Island had eight cases; Exuma, six; Inagua, two; Eleuthera, four; and Andros, one; with 20 locations pending.
Up to yesterday there have been 22 deaths, four non-COVID-related deaths, 209 recovered cases, 61 hospitalized cases, 1,296 active cases and 8,320 tests completed.
Worldwide, there were 22,244,179 confirmed cases and 783,525 deaths.